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article imageThe summer season could last six months by the end of the century

By Karen Graham     Mar 24, 2021 in Environment
For those who are already wishing that summer was here, be careful what you wish for. Summer weather could grow to half a year in length by the end of this century if no mitigation efforts are done on climate change, according to a new study.
According to a new study “Changing Lengths of the Four Seasons by Global Warming,” published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on March 23, warming temperatures globally are making the hottest quarter of the year, known as summer, longer, and this is also affecting when all the seasons start.
And it may seem a rather nice idea to have a few weeks or more of summer weather for that long vacation at the seashore, or working on that tan, it is the disruption of the natural Earth systems that is of the greatest concern to scientists. A longer summer season will have a major impact on human health, agriculture, including food supplies, and the environment, reports ZME Science.
"The onsets of spring and summer are advanced, while the onsets of autumn and winter are delayed," the study says. "Such changes in lengths and onsets can be mainly attributed to greenhouse-warming."
Italian farmers have suffered badly at the hands of coronavirus and the driest spring for 60 years w...
Italian farmers have suffered badly at the hands of coronavirus and the driest spring for 60 years with many crops rotting unharvested
MARCO BERTORELLO, AFP/File
According to Yuping Guan, a physical oceanographer at South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the lead author of the study, if the world continues with its "business as usual" scenario, both the start dates and length of the seasons are going to see significant, and irregular, changes by the end of the century.
And this prediction is partially based on past observations and recorded data that show summers have become longer and warmer while winters got shorter over the last 50 to 70 years. Unseasonable weather events, such as a false spring, or May snows were taken into account. This suggests the trend will continue into the future.
Hundreds of blazes are burning across Australia  which is experiencing a devastating summer bushfir...
Hundreds of blazes are burning across Australia, which is experiencing a devastating summer bushfire season fuelled by a prolonged drought and climate change
PETER PARKS, AFP/File
Figuring it all out
To come up with their assessment, the research team divided the four seasons into four percentiles. Using data covering 1952 through 2011, any temperature above the 75th percentile in those years covered was recognized as summer. Climate computer models were then operated to reveal how these defined seasons change over time, according to CNN.
"Over the period of 1952-2011, the length of summer increased from 78 to 95 days and that of spring, autumn and winter decreased from 124 to 115, 87 to 82 and 76 to 73 days, respectively," the study states. The greatest overall changes to seasonal cycles seen in this study were concentrated in the Mediterranean and Tibetan Plateau regions.
Between the historical and observed trends and using climate change modeling, the research team was able to chart how changes in the length and duration of the season will shift in the future. And it won't be nice.
Heat haze distorts the background during a heatwave in Tokyo on July 31
Heat haze distorts the background during a heatwave in Tokyo on July 31
Kazuhiro NOGI, AFP/File
What this means for you
By 2100, winter could be just two months long. The changing seasonal clock signifies disturbed agriculture seasons and rhythm of species activities, more frequent heatwaves, storms, and wildfires, amounting to increased risks to humanity.
And remember, too, that natural ecosystems are deeply tied to seasonal cycles. The first budding of trees, the planting of crops, bird migration, hibernation of some wildlife, salmon runs, and countless other natural phenomenons we take for granted will be impacted.
"For monsoon areas, shifting seasons can alter the time of monsoons. This means that patterns of monsoon rains are changed as well. This kind of change may not sync with crops growth," Guan told CNN.
The heavy monsoon flooding comes as Bangladesh is also grappling with the coronavirus
The heavy monsoon flooding comes as Bangladesh is also grappling with the coronavirus
Munir UZ ZAMAN, AFP
"It could also limit the types of crops grown, encourage invasive species or weed growth, or increase demand for irrigation," the Environmental Protection Agency says. "A longer growing season could also disrupt the function and structure of a region's ecosystems and could, for example, alter the range and types of animal species in the area."
Anthropogenic climate change is multiplying the miseries faced by people with allergies, with new research finding that the pollen season in North America is now an average of 20 days longer than it was three decades ago.
"A hotter and longer summer will suffer more frequent and intensified high-temperature events -- heatwaves and wildfires," said Congwen Zhu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences who is unaffiliated with this study.
The Pacific's low-lying island nations are among the worst affected by global warming  threaten...
The Pacific's low-lying island nations are among the worst affected by global warming, threatened by rising seas and increasingly extreme cyclones
GIFF JOHNSON, AFP/File
And don't forget that longer, hotter summers are perfect weather for mosquito-borne diseases to spread. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, diseases carried by mosquitos, such as Dengue, could become more widespread in a warmer climate and the time period of the year when it spreads could become longer.
And finally, extreme weather events, including wildfires, heatwaves, or cold surges like the recent one in Texas, will also become more common and more intense. Hurricanes and typhoons will also become more violent as the oceans heat up. All this will ultimately have a negative impact on our health.
More about climate emergency, Summer season, siz months of heat, impact to health, Environment
 
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